Lillian and her husband Dave are the team behind 6 published books and a drum teaching studio, high-fiving cheerfully as they pass each other on the way from checking off one item or other from their long to-do list. Their business includes Dave’s music studio and percussion accessory products and graphic design work as well as numerous award-winning non-fiction books and popular blogs. Today we help them celebrate their latest book release – From One Small Garden, with over 300 delicious, nutritious recipes!
Q: What are the biggest surprises you’ve encountered as a writer?
D: The surprise was that the work only increases after your book is published. As a self-promoting team we have to do everything we can to get the book to the attention of the audience we wish to target. Of course this was different decades ago when you might have a publishing company involved in this, but the world of books has changed. Unless you are a big name you are going to be on your own for the most of it and it can be intense. You need to have a well thought out plan and stick to it in order to get noticed. Flexibility is the key – always be ready to adapt to what ever comes your way. It will keep you pliable and ready for anything.
Q: What is your proudest writer moment?
L: Our Trash Talk series is probably the project that I find the most pride in. Through this series we have influenced people all over the world to live more proactively, consciously saving money and reducing consumption of resources, while helping their own communities. My proudest moment came when the Recycling Council of British Columbia presented us with an award for “outstanding use of various media in on-going outreach work to reduce waste in our environment” and then we were recognized as Community Heroes by the LiveSmart BC program. Mere words cannot describe how it feels to hear from our former radio listeners, and our readers over the years… their stories of how we influenced them to become proactive and make a difference.
Q: What business challenges have you faced as a writer?
D: The learning of new software and web design has been a big challenge in my end of things. There is always something to learn in the realm of graphic design but it is a challenge I love to take on as it only increases my knowledge and ability to do all of our own promotional projects for all aspects of our business.
Q: What is your writer life philosophy?
L: Find a problem that affects people’s lives and the health of the planet, solve the problem and provide a step-by-step guide for others to follow. For me, the task of making that information palatable and enjoyable for the reader comes afterwards. Writing is a way for me to leave a positive legacy, to make a difference for others and to have a lasting impact on the environment.
Q: What is the wisest thing anyone has said to you?
D: My African friend and drum mentor David Thiaw once said to me: “Share the information I have given you with others to perpetuate the craft of drumming. Don’t keep it to your chest like a thing to be hoarded, but give it willingly and share it with anyone that will listen”. I take this approach with everything I write or teach my students. I founded my drum studio on the premise that absolutely everyone goes away with some tidbit of drum, percussion or music knowledge that was not known to them previously.
Q: When starting a book project do you choose the title first, or does that come later?
D: Sometimes the title might be preconceived but usually by the time the manuscript is finished the title has gone through a few changes. It really depends on the market you are aiming to sell to and also what is relevant to the times. Often by the time you finish your book maybe someone else has used a title similar to yours so you might change it based on that.
Q: What impact do you hope this book will have on the reader?
L: I hope that people are able to reduce food waste and enjoy a more frugal menu plan that is filled with fresh, locally grown produce. From One Small Garden encourages the concept of growing food, even if it is just a few pots on the front step or a vine trellis with beans or cucumbers growing up it, blocking the sun on the deck. It encourages composting, and gives some tips for energy and water conservation. I hope that people are healthier and have found ways of extending their budget based on ideas we share in the book.
Find them at: BrummetMedia.ca